State Department's terrorism report under critical barrage
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF The Jerusalem Post 27 May 2002
The US State Department's report "Patterns in Global Terrorism, 2001" issued
last Tuesday has come under a barrage of criticism since its release for its
widely-perceived downplaying of Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
The report claims that only nine "significant terrorist incidents" were
perpetrated against Israel in 2001, and infers that Israel bears
responsibility for Palestinian terrorism claiming that "Israel's destruction
of the PA's security infrastructure contributed to the ineffectiveness of
the PA [in combating terrorism]."
In testimony before the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee
on Thursday, Frank Gaffney, former Reagan Administration advisor and
President of the Center for Security, an influential Washington think tank
with close ties to the Pentagon, blasted the report, claiming it was
"fraudulent." Gaffney recommended that Congress repeat its actions in the
wake of the State Department's 1995 report on ballistic missile
proliferation and "demand a second opinion."
In a conversation with The Jerusalem Post, Gaffney noted that in the 1995
report, released during the Clinton Administration, the State Department
concluded that neither Russia nor China were dangerously involved in
proliferation activities relating to the transfer of ballistic missile
Rejecting the State Department's findings, in 1997, the US Congress formed
an independent panel, chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, now US Secretary of
Defense. The Rumsfeld Commission report, submitted in 1998, reached findings
opposite those of the State Department and its recommendations have since
formed the basis of US anti-proliferation and missile defense policy,
US Representative Tom Lantos, (D., California), criticized the State
Department's report as "misleading" and referred to it as "a crude and
transparent attempt to exonerate Arafat rather than reveal the truth."
In an editorial published last Thursday titled, "Whitewashing Arafat," The
Washington Times lambasted the State Department concluding, "Foggy Bottom
seems to put a higher priority on propping up a terrorist dictatorship than
on providing factual information."
Israel advocacy groups have also decried the report.
In responding to a reporter's question about the authenticity of the
documents submitted to the State Department by the Israeli Government
proving direct ties between the PA and Palestinian terrorists, Ambassador
Francis Richardson, the State Department's Coordinator on Counter-Terrorism
stated, "We don't have any question about the authenticity of the documents
provided by the Israeli Government.
"We are continuing to study those documents and to draw our own conclusions
about what they mean. We've not completed that."